Opinion: A Partial List of Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Remington Write

You already know most of this

If this is your dream come true we probably won't have much in commonPhoto byTammy Remington

An economy that trots out images like the one above is one that would sag in the middle and collapse if my response to such an image was representative of the consumer headset of this society.

I hear the Capitalists in the back row heaving great sighs of relief.

Nope, not me. I’m the one who harbors serious doubts about anyone who dreams of the day they, too, get to stuff themselves with a dozen different desserts while wearing stripey pajamas in the luxury suite of an overpriced hotel room.

Show of hands. Who thinks that image looks in any way appealing?

Oh, are we in trouble.

From the store display to the shopping cart to the landfillPhoto byTammy Remington

We have become numb to the piles of colorful, useless crap that fill our stores. And our homes.

More garbage with which to fill the oceansPhoto byTammy Remington

We live in a consumer-driven economy and We The People are also expected to be We The Consumers. It is our duty to keep buying things we don’t need. Our holidays are nothing more than prompts to go out and buy more things. Our homes are filled to bursting with the things we buy to the point that people actually go into debt to self-storage facilities.

Win-win for the people outsourcing jobs to sweatshops in Southeast Asia.

We talk out of both sides of our mouths when it comes to this insane cycle of work, purchase, debt, rinse and repeat. Most (white) people in the United States feel it is their inalienable right to own their own house, for each adult to drive their own car, and that the two-week vacation to another part of the world is sacrosanct. At the same time, we are all also lip-syncing along with those catchy Reuse, Recycle, Reduce mantras.

Save the planet! See, my new hybrid electric car is how I’m doing my part!

There is one rude awakening about to slam into a honking huge heap of American consumers if they ever got serious about this "sustainability" thing. And I’m not exempting myself here either.

The stern Goddess Sustainability has some serious terms to lay down and we are not going to like them.

No more air conditioning. No more personal automobiles. No more stand-alone houses. No more lush, green Kentucky Bluegrass lawns. No more air travel for recreation or business (you’ve heard of Zoom, right?). No more making as many babies as you want — Alex and Hilaria Baldwin? Stop it — and no more pets.

No more stupid, brightly colored, totally useless plastic anythings whatsoever.

Relax. Not going to happen.

I realize that this where I’m supposed to offer suggestions and solutions and — gods help us — hope.

The thing is, we already know all the things we need to do (see that handy list above) and we also already know we aren’t going to do any of that. Not willingly. Maybe we think some smartypants unicorn-riding techno-whiz kid is going to develop a way for us to have our fifteen different desserts and eat them, too.

We’ve been pretending to dance to the Goddess’ tune since I was in kindergarten. We’ll keep pretending right up to the day that it all really does collapse. The Goddess isn’t going away.

We, however, might be.

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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